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Our Results-Driven, Testing Culture How It Adversely Affects Students' Personal Experience
978-1-57886-661-8 • Hardback
August 2007 • $55.00 • (£34.95)
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978-1-57886-662-5 • Paperback
August 2007 • $24.95 • (£15.95)
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Pages: 154
Size: 6 x 9
By Lyn Lesch
 
Education | Educational Policy & Reform / General
R&L Education
Lyn Lesch advocates that learning cannot be measured by empirical results like testing and grading. As the founder of Chicago's The Children's School, Lesch didn't give grades or submit students to standardized testing—such conditions may seem blasphemous to most educators, but the results spoke for themselves. Without the high-stakes pressure of results, accountability, and testing, students were able to take a more active role in their education. With reduced stress on performance, students can develop an openness to the material and link learning to their own personal experience.

If the status quo goes unchanged, Lesch argues that students will be schooled in a disembodied, dull manner that prevents true learning and comprehension. To avoid this, Lesch describes how education should revolve around each student's personal experience (i.e., linking school with what matters to individual students). Perhaps more than anything, this book is intended to be a discussion point for developing a healthy relationship between personal experience and academic learning.
Lyn Lesch, a classroom teacher for 24 years, founded and directed The Children's' School in Evanston, Illinois from 1991 to 2003. The school, an alternative school for children ages 6 to 14, received widespread media attention in Chicago as a unique approach to education. Since retiring from The Children's School, Lyn is now a full-time education writer.
Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Our Results-Driven, Testing Culture
Chapter 3 Learning and Experience
Chapter 4 Evaluations and Disembodied Learning
Chapter 5 Cognitive Learning and Student Impressions
Chapter 6 Adult Preconceptions and Student Needs
Chapter 7 Developmental Concerns
Chapter 8 A Just Equilibrium
Chapter 9 The Student's Own Experience
Chapter 10 Diagnosis and Evaluation
Chapter 11 Continuums of Learning
In an effort to meet the shallow performance demands of recent school legislation, parents and teachers have too often sacrificed what they know to be the best interests of their children for better scores. [Lesch] starts with a view of children and their possibilities that leads him to very different conclusions.
Deborah Meier, McArthur Fellowship recipient, Steinhardt School of Education, New York University


Lyn's work makes a persuasive argument not only for a closer analysis of the current results driven educational structures and how they contain children's genuine experience of learning and exploratory thinking, but also gives a credible case for the development of a more experience-based teaching philosophy and approach.
Jim Wasner, Argosy University, Chicago


If we are to have a conversation about the path we have chosen for our schools, voice's like Lyn Lesch's will be crucial. As a teacher, I hope that his voice can be heard and we can truly begin to debate the future of education.
Emily Wismer, public school teacher, Chicago


Lesch's dedication to truth and children's experiences, and his profound questioning of the meaning of healthy and significant education for our youth, have led him to develop an important and interesting work that society needs to see.
Sarah Kinnison, former teacher, The Children's School


I believe that, as time goes on, Lyn's views on education, though not now on many people's radar screens, will become increasingly significant. He sees so clearly into the minds of young people that I often chuckle at how I could have missed such simple truths.
Bill Pollack, Bill Pollack Music, and former parent of a child at The Children's School


Lyn Lesch adds his important voice to an essential question haunting contemporary education: What is the cost of our accelerating test-driven school culture to children's learning and development? He brings a fresh perspective to the discussion as a parent, engaged citizen, deinstitutionalized scholar, public school teacher, and founder of The Children's School in Evanston, Illinois. His laser draws energy and example from all these experiences and offers, finally, a vision of healthy development and authentic learning.
William Ayers, educational theorist, author, and distinguished professor of education and senior university scholar at the University of Illinois at Chicago


In the spirit of Summerhill, Lyn Lesch's Our Results-Driven Testing Culture: How It Adversely Affects Students' Personal Experience offers a contemporary narrative of one school whose instruction, assessment, and design are unconventional by today's standards....This glimpse, a keen reminder of the importance of alternative perspectives and the once-lauded progressive tradition, makes Our Results-Driven Testing Culture: How it Adversely Affects Students' Personal Experience a worthwhile read.
Laurence B. Boggess and Mindy L. Kornhaber; American Journal of Education, November 2009


 
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